Mar 31, 2022
College of the Ozarks sends 50 students on inaugural Vocation Trip to Northwest Arkansas
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — Fifty College of the Ozark juniors and seniors attended a five-day vocation workshop, traveling to Northwest Arkansas to meet with local business leaders and recent graduates on March 12-16.
The purpose of the Vocation Trip is to discover students’ unique abilities and teach them how to employ those skills in their respective professional fields upon graduation. The course also helps the soon-to-be graduates refine their resumes, cover letter writing skills, and profiles on LinkedIn.
The Vocation Trip began with two days at The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education on the College of the Ozarks campus. Students learned about servant leadership from the perspective of their professors. Additionally, local business owners and C of O alumni Matthew and Jessica Farmer, of Vintage Paris Coffee Shop, spoke on servant leadership and community outreach.
“Life is about relationships, and the personal and professional networks we develop support our ability to thrive throughout life,” said Andrew Bolger, director of The Keeter Center for Character Education. “This reality is never truer than when students launch from college. And this is exactly why we created the Vocation Trip: to help students thrive after C of O by exploring their God-given vocation and callings and connecting with missional businesses and people in Northwest Arkansas.”
Students spent evenings dining with recent graduates to learn more about life after graduation and opportunities to connect with local Branson businesses. Students also spoke with the leadership of local adventure attraction Fritz’s Adventure on finding a cultural fit in their future workplace.
Networking in Northwest Arkansas
On Monday, March 12, students and chaperones traveled to Field Agent, an e-commerce venture in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They spent four hours consulting co-founders Henry Ho and Rick West on best business practices and listened to presentations from other various business leaders in the area.
“The Vocation Trip was truly a formative experience for me,” said Mucyo Bangerezako, senior engineering major. “One of my many takeaways came from Matt Farmer, the owner of Vintage Paris, who told us how Vintage Paris always values and prioritizes people over profit, whether those people be their customers, employees, or competitors.”
When in Arkansas, the students also traveled to the Supply Chain Hall of Fame and took part in conversations with leaders from J.B. Hunt, Tyson Foods, Harvest Group, 49 Financial, and Founder’s Academy.
More about the Thrive Leadership Pathway
The Career Center’s Thrive Leadership Pathway is a four-year leadership program that aims to guide students along their college journey as they enter and exit the College.
- Character Camp and Base Camp: First-time student introductory programs that help freshmen adjust to the College’s vigorous class schedule and workload.
- The Call: A sophomore leadership retreat that focuses on the various ways different personality types serve as leaders and teammates at the College.
- The Vocation Trip: A preparatory experience for juniors and seniors as they transition out of College. Students compose a resumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. The course culminates in a trip to regional corporations to introduce students to potential employers.
“Our majors do not define our careers: most people will have several careers over their lifetime,” said Jim Freeman, director of The Career Center at College of the Ozarks. “The Career Center is about engaging, empowering, and equipping students. Its main purpose is to help students develop an understanding of who they are and communicate that to future employers.”